With NFL free agents getting new deals all over the league, the highest-priority needs for some teams have become satisfied. For the other teams that finished as the runner-ups on the best free agents, they still have holes remaining and need to explore Plan B, Plan C or in some cases Plan D.
Some of those plans involve exploring the trade front. Who would have projected when free agency started that Tim Tebow would be traded to the Jets or that Denver would give Tebow the option of picking between Jacksonville or New York City, as Peter King of Sports Illustrated breaks down in this story.
Who would have predicted at the start of free agency that Philadelphia would solve some of their linebacker woes by acquiring DeMeco Ryans from Houston in a trade? Other trades involved quarterback Drew Stanton and offensive tackle Winston Justice.
It is safe to say that those deals are specific examples of how some trades can really catch you by surprise and how unpredictable the NFL can be. The other factor that bears mention is how the various free-agent deals will impact the needs of NFL teams that were considering the merits of trading up or down in the NFL draft.
So with those thoughts in mind, we are going to explore the rumors, speculation and buzz going on around the league to see what kind of potential trade ideas are starting to take hold, or which trade ideas are already starting to fade away.
According to this article from The Huddle, the Carolina Panthers are entertaining offers for running back Jonathan Stewart. The main reason is that Stewart is deemed as expendable, since the Panthers picked up free agent Mike Tolbert to go along with DeAngelo Williams.
Although no teams have come forward yet, you have to wonder if a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers might be interested in picking up a proven running back due to the injury that Rashard Mendenhall suffered late last year.
In the article, speculation was that the Panthers were thought to be seeking a second-round draft pick for Stewart.
When the Cleveland Browns lost Peyton Hillis, who left in free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs, Browns fans wondered if the team had somebody lined up to replace Hillis.
The Houston Texans signed Arian Foster to a new deal, so rumors surfaced that Ben Tate might make sense for the Browns to target on the trade front.
This article from Yardbarker.com goes into detail about the rumor and explores if this idea makes any degree of sense for the Houston Texans.
The simple reality is that the Texans already saw the value that Tate brought to the team when Arian Foster went down with an injury last year and Tate assumed the starting job. The Texans are like many NFL teams that have at least two talented running backs and have no intention of breaking up that duo.
When the Indianapolis Colts were able to sign free agent Robert Mathis to a big contract, the next thought around the league was, what are they going to do with Dwight Freeney?
The natural reaction was that with so much money tied up in the two defensive ends, there is no way they could afford to keep both players on the roster. Therefore, the Colts tried to find a trade partner for Freeney, according to this story from ESPN.
But, according to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, there is no way that the Colts will be able to find a trade partner to make this deal work.
The latest report that came out today was from StampedeBlue.com. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson stated that Freeney will remain with the Colts in 2012. He isn't going anywhere. Guess we can put that rumor to bed.
The Miami Dolphins have flopped so far on landing a franchise quarterback, starting with the attempts to trade for Robert Griffin then attempting to sign Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.
So, the question is, will the Dolphins trade up to the No. 3 overall draft position with Minnesota, to block the Cleveland Browns from drafting Ryan Tannehill? That question and more is discussed in this article from the National Football Authority article by Bob Evans.
If the Dolphins sit tight and hope that Tannehill falls to them at the No. 8 overall pick, they might wind up with egg on their faces one more time. Not sure the Dolphins can afford to risk the ire of their fans by making another calculated gamble that backfires.
It isn't like the Dolphins have other needs. They need a No. 1 wide receiver since they traded Brandon Marshall away. But David Garrard can only be considered to be a short-term option at best, so the Dolphins need to find their franchise face sooner than later.
According to this Philadelphia Inquirer article, the Philadelphia Eagles have let it be known that corner Asante Samuel is on the trading block and the Eagles would like to move him prior to the NFL draft, which gives them one month to work out a deal.
As the vast majority of NFL teams rely on a pass-heavy offense, it makes sense for teams to shore up their secondary with as much talent as they can. But, what will it cost any team to acquire Samuel?
Samuel himself could be a major stumbling block to getting traded, because he earns a whopping $9.5 million in 2012. So, not only will a team have to pay Samuel major dollars, it will have to give the Eagles some other form of compensation, presumably draft picks. This is akin to the Mike Wallace scenario, only we aren't talking about giving up a first-round draft pick here.
Maybe that is why things are so quiet on the Samuel trade front, because the other team will have to give up so much. Maybe the Eagles will need to lower their sights of what they ask for in return.
The Cleveland Browns need plenty of help on offense, and there is a strong likelihood that Trent Richardson, the Alabama running back, and Justin Blackmon, the Oklahoma St. wide receiver, will both be there for the Browns to draft with the No. 4 overall pick. But before you pencil one of those players in for the Browns, you have one other option to consider.
According to an article from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, you can't yet rule out the option of the Cleveland Browns trading down in the first round, just like they did in 2011. While there are clearly some blue-chip players that would help the Browns with that pick, they still have multiple needs to address, and picking up some other high draft picks could go a long way to bringing in new talent.
If the Browns were to trade down with Miami, they would then be drafting at No. 8. That slot will no doubt land them a very good player, but not necessarily a blue-chip player. The 2012 draft class generally has six blue-chip players in Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne.
If the Browns trade down to No. 8, they could miss out on every one of them.
Can the Browns afford to pass up talent that good for the sake of acquiring more draft picks? Guess we will know the answer soon enough.
In an ESPN article, Tim Kavanaugh addresses the concept of the Minnesota Vikings looking to trade down from the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft.
While Matt Kalil has been linked to the Vikings with that pick for the past two months, the Vikings have been attempting to put out word that they are fielding calls with interest in that draft pick. Is this a smokescreen by the Vikings to drive up the potential asking price, just like the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns have executed in the past year?
The Vikings have a genuine need for Kalil, and they have seen some starters from the offensive line depart in free agency. So rebuilding the offensive line with Kalil appears to be a good investment for starters.
Just because the Vikings are willing to listen to trade offers doesn't mean that they will pull the trigger. However, if they get blown away by somebody, then anything is possible.
The rumors are rather limited now on the trade front due to the recent trades of Brandon Marshall, Tim Tebow and DeMeco Ryans.
So, we will leave you with this trade-related buzz, which deals with a topic that is being brought up for vote at the current NFL Owners Meetings. This item was address by Andrew Brandt at National Football Post in his article that stated an interesting proposal was brought up to the owners to consider pushing back the NFL trading deadline from Week 6 to Week 8.
On the surface this makes more sense, as teams could have injuries that crop up during those two additional weeks that they can still attempt to fix via the trade front. In addition, six weeks into the season is too early for teams to know for sure if they are "buyers" or "sellers," so waiting until Week 8 might give them enough evidence to know which way they are going.
Of course, if this rule was passed back in 2011, the question then would be, would the New York Giants have traded away Osi Umenyiora, thinking that they were not looking great for the playoffs? Sometimes the best deals you do are the ones that you never attempt.
Thanks for checking out the presentation.